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December 1, 2011

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”      -William Arthur Ward

Last year our family was hurting deeply.  A dear family member was dying of cancer.  We spent our Thanksgiving trying to cope, trying to smile, trying to live in the midst of death.  This Thanksgiving was the beginning of our first holiday season without my cheerful aunt…

And then, when everything seemed to be going well… my strong uncle announced that he too has cancer.  And we try to cope, try to smile.  And when we think it should be difficult, even impossible to find things to give thanks for, the truth is, death puts everything in perspective.  Did I appreciate my aunt while she was here?  Yes, I thought so.  Did I really appreciate her? Who she was as a person, all the wonderful little things about her that added up to be such an amazing person that I didn’t realize how privileged I was to know?  No.  I really didn’t.  And I didn’t realize all of that until after she was gone.  And losing her has helped me to have a better perspective on all the other truly wonderful people that I am so blessed to have as MY family.  Seriously, how blessed am I?

In the midst of thinking about life and death and love and loss and facing a holiday one family member short… I thought of the pilgrims.  We Americans typically observe their famous Day of Thanks as The First Thanksgiving, and we model our Thanksgivings now on  theirs then.  But, I don’t think we really truly can understand what that day was like for them.  They had been in their new home, in a new land far away from everything familiar, for only a year.  In that time they buried almost half of their family and friends.  As H.U. Westermayer said “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”

I like to think that they gave thanks for the blessings of the past… the short, but sacred time they had been allowed with their loved ones that didn’t survive.  And that they gave thanks for the hope of a better future.

And so I endeavor to have the same kind of perspective.

To give Thanks

For the blessed memories.

For the hope of a better future.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2011 11:21 pm

    Thanks for giving me some of the perspective you have gained in the last year. You made me stop and carefully consider…

  2. Crystal permalink
    December 10, 2011 8:32 am

    wow becca i love this story!! thank you for honoring my mom it truly was a difficult day!! I really like the perspective you have now. xoxo


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